WTCI has been hosting international visitors since 1989!
Host Family members have the opportunity to learn about another culture without leaving home. But perhaps the most valuable part of the experience is the lasting friendships that are formed by participants. After the homestay program there remains an understanding of another’s culture, world-view and customs. With this awareness comes an increased tolerance of the differences between peoples and a heightened appreciation of the similarities.
Families of all sizes and descriptions are welcome. All you need is:
• A spare bedroom
• The desire to learn about a new culture and share your culture with your visitor(s)
• The willingness to serve as a valuable connection and inspiration to communities here and abroad
Our families are volunteer host families and are not paid. The concept of “volunteerism” is often a new concept to many foreign visitors and is one of the things in our culture of which we can have great pride. Families benefit from hosting in many ways! It is an educational experience that is fun for all involved, from the baby to the Grandpa. The family is able to see their own culture and life through the eyes of the visitor. They learn about the culture and life of that visitor and can compare the difference and similarities. Many families who have hosted visitors have then traveled to visit their visitors in their home country. Also they have reported that their children were so affected by the experience that they began to study foreign languages in school and to travel to other countries. Some even went on to study international law and business. At the least this experience allows the family members to learn about another culture without leaving their living room.
International visitors are selected through the U.S. Embassy in their home country. These exchange programs have an application process as well as a vetting process etc.
No foreign language proficiency is required to host visitors!
The number one thing we hear from our Homestay Heros is that they did not have enough time to spend with their international visitors! These exchange programs are very rigorous and have very long and busy days. Additionally, you can expect to learn many new things about a country that you may not have ever heard about before!